My Panasonic DMR-E85H DVD HDD recorder start playing up just before Christmas. Every time I switched the mode from HDD to HDD the machine would crash and go into self check/crash cycle. Eventually it would come back on of its own accord. This seems to be a common problem with the model, but there was no clear fix I could find on the Internet. I've had the player near 4 years, so it's done reasonably well for a modern product.
Event though the lure of buying a new DVD HDD record with built in Freeview was very tempting, the £250 price tag wasn't (and I couldn't get one with blue ray), so I took it back to Richer Sounds to get it fixed. Although initially very helpful, they did nothing with the player for a week and told me it would take at least three weeks to be fixed once they'd sent it off. Also, the inspection fee was £35 and the base case fix scenario would be £70. If they couldn't fix I'd have lost £35 and have to buy a new player.
So I collected the machine and took it to Webster Technical Services instead who, ironically, were recommended by Richer Sounds. They only charge £20 for inspection and do everything on site. I had a phone call the next day saying that the player needed a new power IC and a few dry joints seeing to, it would cost a little over £50 and be ready the following week. Skeptical that a power problem would only show itself when going from HDD to DVD mode I agreed to have the repair done. Less that a week later I received a phone call to say it was ready, so I collected and paid for the player it's been functioning properly since.
The only disappointment I have is that I didn't get to buy a new toy, but at least I saved £200.